Using non fiction text in the esl classroom
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Using Non-fiction Text in the ESL Classroom. Julie Caine Montevallo Middle School Shelby County, AL. Objectives. To participate in an “Article of the Week” lesson plan To learn about resources for finding and utilizing high interest non-fiction. Article of the Week. Dream accomplished.

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Using Non-fiction Text in the ESL Classroom

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Using non fiction text in the esl classroom

Using Non-fiction Text in the ESL Classroom

Julie Caine

Montevallo Middle School

Shelby County, AL



  • To participate in an “Article of the Week” lesson plan

  • To learn about resources for finding and utilizing high interest non-fiction

Article of the week

Article of the Week

  • Dream accomplished

Pre teaching vocabulary day 1

Pre-teaching vocabulary (Day 1)

  • Today, we will read, write, listen, and speak while previewing vocabulary.



the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity



able to inflict a poisoned bite, sting, or wound



marked by very close association, contact, or familiarity

Pass out of class

Pass out of class

  • Use one vocabulary word in a sentence.

Group reading day 2

Group reading (Day 2)

  • Today, we will read, listen, and speak while group reading.

First reading

(first reading)

Notes on my thoughts, reactions, and things I noticed about the author….

Diana Nyad Completes Historic Havana-Key West Swim

CBS/AP/ September 2, 2013, 1:51 PMDiana Nyad completes historic Havana-Key West swim

KEY WEST, Florida -- U.S. endurance swimmer Diana Nyad's completed a historic Havana-Key West swim on her fifth attempt, 35 years after her first try.

The 64-year-old Nyad stepped ashore in Key West on Monday just before 2 p.m. EDT, about 53 hours after she began her swim in Havana on Saturday.

Nyad's journey began Saturday morning when she jumped from the seawall of the Hemingway Marina into the warm waters off Havana. She has been swimming the Florida Strait ever since, stopping from time to time for nourishment.

Comprehension questions

Comprehension questions

1. Define: endurance, historic, abrasion, intervened, rebuffed, derailed, venomous, predators

2. Locate Havana, Cuba, and Key West, Florida on a map.

3. What did Diana Nyad do that made history?

4. What is a shark cage? Why was it significant that Nyad did not use a shark cage?

5. When did Nyad first attempt to accomplish this feat?

6. Why do you think she took up the challenge again after so many years?

7. Why do people try to set endurance records?

Research: What is the difference between a statute mile and a nautical mile?

The students skim the article using the following symbols:

Pass out of class1

Pass out of class

Turn and talk to your neighbor. Tell them one thing that you learned from this article.

Interacting with the article day 3

Interacting with the article (Day 3)

  • Today, we will read, write, listen, and speak while reacting to the article.

Individual reading 2 nd reading

Individual reading (2nd reading)

Skim the article, using these symbols as you read:

+ agree

- disagree

* important

! surprising

? wondering

Using non fiction text in the esl classroom

Create a 3-2-1

3 things you learned

2 amazing things

1 boring fact

Using non fiction text in the esl classroom

  • Share your 3-2-1 in your small group.

  • Write a group 3-2-1. Share with the class.

Pass 0ut of class

Pass 0ut of class

List 2 reasons you thought your “boring” choice was boring. Share with two other people.

Interacting with the article day 4

Interacting with the article (day 4)

  • Today, we will read, write, listen, and speak while distinguishing between fact and opinion.

Using non fiction text in the esl classroom

Teacher and students brainstorm about fact and opinion

Students re-read article (3rd reading)

While reading, students determine fact and opinion, using textual evidence.

Using non fiction text in the esl classroom



“claimed that a cruise ship decided to "make way" for her” (8)

  • Diana's tongue and lips are swollen causing her speech to be slurred (8)

Pass out of class2

Think- Write-Share

List emotions Diana Nyad may have felt during her swim.

Write a paragraph describing these emotions.

Share with the class.

Pass out of class

Hots day 5

HOTS (Day 5)

  • Discuss question writing with students.

    • Model Higher Order Thinking Questions (HOTS)

    • Students write interview questions for Diana Nyad

Extension activities

Extension activities

  • Teacher created crossword and word search

Al ccrs alignment 6 th grade ela

AL CCRS alignment 6th grade ELA


Text Types and Purposes

21. Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. [W.6.1]

a. Introduce claim(s) and organize the reasons and evidence clearly. [W.6.1a]

b. Support claim(s) with clear reasons and relevant evidence, using credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text. [W.6.1b]


31. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on Grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. [SL.6.1]


  • Key Ideas and Details

  • 11. Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. [RI.6.1]

  • Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

  • 17. Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue. [RI.6.7]

  • Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity

  • 20. By the end of the year, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the Grades 6-8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range. [RI.6.10]

Close reading

Close reading

  • What Is Close Reading?

  • Essentially, close reading means reading to uncover layers of meaning that lead to deep comprehension. The partnership for assessment of readiness for college and careers (PARCC) supplies clarification useful for teaching with common core standards in mind:

  • Close, analytic reading stresses engaging with a text of sufficient complexity directly and examining meaning thoroughly and methodically, encouraging students to read and reread deliberately. Directing student attention on the text itself empowers students to understand the central ideas and key supporting details. It also enables students to reflect on the meanings of individual words and sentences; the order in which sentences unfold; and the development of ideas over the course of the text, which ultimately leads students to arrive at an understanding of the text as a whole. (PARCC, 2011, p. 7)

  • If reading closely is the most effective way to achieve deep comprehension, then that's how we should teach students to read. But that description doesn't match much of the instruction I've witnessed in recent years.

Resources for high interest articles

Resources for high interest articles

  • Current Events

  • Time for Kids

  • Newsela | Marine scientist versus the skeptics: haiku about climate change

  • Junior Scholastic Home

  • Here There Everywhere  - News for Kids

  • National Geographic Kids

  • Wonderopolis


Collins writing

Collins Writing

The Five Types of Writing

Close reading1

Close reading

  • Five close reading strategies to support the Common Core


  • Common Core ELA Resources for Middle School Educators | Edutopia


Questions comments

Questions? Comments?

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